Understanding the quality of medicinal mushrooms

The specification for mushroom extracts is actually a disputed topic so far. Initially, people believe that the Polysaccharides components in mushrooms contribute to the beneficial properties of mushrooms.

With recent in-depth research, people realize that polysaccharides as a quality standard can be easily doctored by using starch. Starch is an alpha-glucan, which is also a polysaccharide. Mycelium on grain (MOG) products have been shown to have high levels of starch, which allows them to tout high polysaccharides numbers but in reality, they have very low beta-glucans as the bulk of these polysaccharides are made up of starch. Since then, Beta-glucans, which belongs to polysaccharides as well, become the most well researched medically active compound in mushrooms.

But till today, there is no standard, accepted, validated methodology in the industry to test beta-glucans.  A reputed US company has applied product testing for beta-glucan content at various laboratories. The reported beta-glucan values from several independent laboratories vary greatly even though identical assays were performed. The most commonly employed assays for determination of beta-glucan content can only detect soluble beta-glucans; the insoluble beta-glucans remain undetected. Beta-glucans differ in their solubilities depending on their size, functionality, and interaction with other molecules.

Per some analytical laboratories, some mushroom companies use chitinase to convert otherwise water-insoluble sugars (chitin) into beta-glucans so their analyses falsely meet their desired marketing goal. a technique that simply embellishes the beta-glucan content in order to mislead the customer. Another trick some companies employ is to use beta-glucans isolated from yeast, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and list them as ‘mushroom beta-glucans’ on their product label.

As we know, the immune system is activated multifactorial by many components in mushrooms. Beta-glucans are just one. Other constituents include but are not limited to alpha-glucans, ergothioneine, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory sterols, lipids, glycosides, and mycoflavonoids—many of which work synergistically to optimize health. The efficacy of a multi-constituent approach has been positively confirmed in the scientific literature. The inclusion of these beneficial co-ingredients enhances their protective effects. These constellations of complementary constituents are the foundation of our mushroom product line.

All the above are the reasons why we only state our mushroom extracts as full spectrum concentrated 10:1 extract powder.